The ba­sics

Model Rail (UK) - - Workbench -

Let’s start with the sim­plest oval of track. If you don’t have any points on your lay­out then you will only need two wires. Take a look at your con­troller (or, in some cases, con­troller hub) and you will see some holes. The word­ing sur­round­ing these holes may vary, but they all do the same thing – one will be a pos­i­tive feed while the other is a neg­a­tive feed; in other words ‘out’ and ‘in’, or ‘+’ and ‘–’. The elec­tric­ity will flow out of one hole down the wire and into one rail, through any lo­co­mo­tive that is on there, back down the other rail, along the wire and re­turn into the con­troller or con­troller hub, com­plet­ing the loop (cir­cuit). If there are no lo­co­mo­tives on the lay­out the cir­cuit is not com­plete and the elec­tric­ity will not flow. It’s im­por­tant to en­sure that the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive rails never touch each other. If this hap­pens you’ll get a short cir­cuit, noth­ing will work and it has the po­ten­tial to dam­age your ex­pen­sive mod­els. The eas­i­est way to avoid short cir­cuits is to take your time and to colour-code your wires. Us­ing a dif­fer­ent colour for dif­fer­ent feeds is the best way to avoid a mis-wiring, as well as be­ing the eas­i­est way to dis­cover any faults. Never wire your lay­out en­tirely with ca­bles of the same colour – it will make faults prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to find! For large lay­outs, the most re­li­able way to do the wiring is to have two thicker ‘bus wires’ that run along the length of the lay­out with drop­per wires feed­ing off them. If you use a lot of thin wires you may find that the re­sis­tance in the wire is too high and the cur­rent will drop be­low a suf­fi­cient level at some points of the lay­out.

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